The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has now spread across the world extensively, including in Thailand and many of the countries where our AIT students, faculty and staff come from.
The AIT Coronavirus Task Force was formed at the end of January to monitor the crisis, both in general and specifically on how it affects the institute. The Task Force has devised policies, measures and advice, and has kept the AIT community informed through a dedicated Intranet column—with links to the Thai Government public health websites—and through frequent emails. As the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus increased daily worldwide, the work of the Task Force shifted into high gear, and more and more precautionary steps have been, and are being, taken by AIT to ensure a safe and healthy environment on campus. The Task Force worked hard to ensure that all the AIT students overseas who wanted to have returned to AIT, and those arriving from highly infected countries were placed on a 14-day quarantine.
On March 18, AIT officially closed, following the policy announced by the Thai Government, and all face- to-face classes were cancelled for the rest of the Spring Semester. However, education moved online, and all students are continuing to learn via interactive online instruction. Final exams and theses defense will also be online. About half the 1400 students chose to remain at AIT, with the other half going back to their home country or their home in Thailand. Those graduating this May will be able to complete their requirements to graduate on time. Work by AIT faculty and staff is now on a “Work from Home” basis, with only mission essential personnel coming to the office very occasionally, at least until 30 April when the National Emergency status of Thailand ends.
So far, no AIT member has caught the Coronavirus and fallen ill. However, AIT is prepared, and though the campus is not locked down, AIT members are making difficult sacrifices to keep the campus safe.
Meanwhile, AIT faculty and staff are working very hard to make sure that the online education we are providing now will be enhanced for the future, with more innovative interactive online instruction available in August. AIT “will not miss a beat” and will welcome students to enroll in August 2020, even if on-campus instruction may still not be possible at that time because of the crisis. Quality Education and Research—“Social Impact with Innovation” will go on at AIT!